a community of singaporeans

Give credit where credit is due, Andy

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 9, 2008

Andrew Loh

A recent public forum about youth concerns raised the issue of lowering the voting age to 18.


Perhaps a post-1965 Member of Parliament might initiate the debate to enfranchise these trustees of our posterity.

Andy Ho, Senior Writer, Straits Times, May 8, 2008, “If old enough for NS, why not the vote?”

The above are quotes from Ho’s article. The first one is the very first line of his piece, and the second one the very last sentence from it.

The “recent public forum” Ho was alluding to, I suppose, was the Youthquake forum held at the Workers’ Party (WP) headquarters on May 4, 2008. It was organised by the WP’s Youth Wing (YW) and in particular Bernard Chen, the YW’s Organising Secretary. (TOC reported on the event here.)

(I do not know of any other “recent public forum” which addressed the issue of the voting age.)

The forum’s title was, “Should Singaporean Youths be Allowed to Vote at 18?”

I think as a journalist – and a senior writer at that – Ho should have given due recognition to the organizers of the forum and not just allude to it. In fact, Ho avoided mentioning the WP altogether. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for the last sentence of that piece – Ho called on “a post-1965 Member in Parliament” to “initiate” the debate on the issue. I would have thought that the youths at the forum had initiated the debate already!

And as we all know, the only “post-1965 Members of Parliament” (also called P65 MPs) are from the People’s Action Party (PAP).

One can only wonder why Ho did not instead urge the WP to “initiate” or further the call to lower the voting age and instead called on PAP MPs to do so. After all, the forum was organised by the WP and not the PAP. This is quite bewildering, to say the least.

While it is laudable that Ho made some good arguments in favour of Singaporeans being allowed to vote at 18, closer scrutiny of his article reveals virtually the same points which were highlighted by the young speakers at the forum, particularly by Khairulanwar.

Here, Ho again failed to mention that the young forum speakers had also brought up virtually all of the points he raised in his article.

For example:

Ho said:

Perhaps a post-1965 Member of Parliament might initiate the debate to enfranchise these trustees of our posterity.

National Serviceman Khairulanwar, in his speech at the forum, said:

This suggests that the government has an implicit trust in the NSFs (Full-time National Servicemen) to undertake such a critical responsibility; however a similar trust to enfranchise us into the electorate remains lacking.

Today, May 9, the Youth Wing of the WP responded to Ho’s article. On its website, the YW says:

We agree with the arguments raised in Mr. Ho’s editorial, since virtually all of these arguments were raised by the speakers at the above event and duly recorded by Mediacorp, and urge that this matter be debated in Parliament regardless of partisan standing.

We stand united for the betterment of the nation.

Yes, we should all move on and address the issue of lowering the voting age in Singapore to 18 which, by the way, is the age most countries have legally adopted as the age of majority.

Nonetheless, one would expect senior writers in a national newspaper to not be shy from giving credit where credit is due, especially when it is something which is being fronted and organised by the youths of Singapore – even if they are from or invited by opposition parties.

Give credit where credit is due, Andy. (Though you may not have been there at the forum, as far as I know.)

And while you’re at it, do applaud the youths for speaking out too.



22 Responses to “Give credit where credit is due, Andy”

  1. Daniel said

    Oh boy, this Andy Ho has such a PAP face that reminds of WongCan’tSing. Little wonder that he will take full credit from WP. What’s more as a senior writer, will he even dare to offend his paymaster by quoting the government’s nemesis least he demoted as junior editor or replaced by foreign talent ?

  2. Dr.Huang said

    Yes I agree that it is shameful that ST ignores basic journalism tenets such as giving proper credits! Isn’t this equivalent to plagiarism?

  3. John Kew said

    Years ago, MM Lee toyed around with the idea of making a change to the one man one vote system. If I’m not mistaken, he was more in favour of handing a bigger say in our electorial process to people that had a “bigger” stake in Singapore. I can only guess by that he meant business people and those that indirectly benefitted from having a PAP government in place. I doubt if any debate to lowering the voting age will ever come about whilst he is alive.

  4. ZhuGeLiang said

    The state of our country’s journalism is appalling. Let me illustrate a recent example.

    I read on Today newspaper on 8th May that a photojournalist, Ooi Boon Keong, was assualted by the family members of Shin Min Daily editor, Lim Hong Eng. The reasons was because this he was talking photos of the accused, who killed a person due to reckless driving.

    Interesting, Shin Min Daily did not cover this news. A tabloid that knows no bounds in papparazzi-like news, this news would have been sensational. But just because it was their own editor, the news wasn’t covered. I then went to look up Straits Times and Zaobao and find it very played down too.

    What has happened to the basic ethics of journalism? Well, when most of the newspapers belong to the same monopolistic company, that is what happens.

  5. xiao_nicole said

    hahahaha u r zhugeliang then i m sima yi

  6. Winston said

    Well, I think the point of the Youthquake forum was to sell an idea, rather than the a party? I do not think that the WP would like to be seen as using the “Vote at 18” forum as a smokescreen to market their party.

    At the end of the day, I think we should be heartened by the fact that an alleged PAP mouthpiece has bought into ideology advocated by WP. The ST has not dissented for dissenting’s sake.

    To be fair, Andy Ho has made a perfectly valid point by stating that “Vote at 18” should be brought up by a P65 Member, instead of urging WP to initiate further public discourse. Why? Because that is the only way legislation’s going to change. If “Vote at 18” is indeed a valid and pressing policy concern, the fastest and most pragmatic way of initiating legislative change is for the Government to moot the idea from amongst themselves, from one of their own, and in Parliament. It is also the most persuasive route.

    I was at the Forum, I was there to support a friend, a panelleist. However, from reading Andy’s article, I feel that the purpose of the Forum has somewhat been served. And that is to make ideas heard, and not faces known.

  7. Gerald said

    I really don’t know what Andy Ho’s motivations are, but IF I were to give him the benefit of the doubt then perhaps he’s trying to further the very important argument that voting should be allowed at 18 without getting his piece canned by his political editor, Chua Lee Hoong.

    I think this is an important issue to be debated which should not be overly politicized. If the PAP is going to reject this idea simply because WP proposed it, then I’d be really disgusted, just as I’d be if the PAP pushes through this idea years from now and says that was theirs.

    It is important that the WP MPs raise this issue of voting at 18 at the next Parliament sitting so they can formerly stake their claim to this proposal.

  8. Daniel said

    “I think this is an important issue to be debated which should not be overly politicized. If the PAP is going to reject this idea simply because WP proposed it, then I’d be really disgusted, just as I’d be if the PAP pushes through this idea years from now and says that was theirs.”

    I wonder how many of opposition party’s suggestions need or has already gone down by this route ? If this indicates anything, it shows the kind of absolute ruling power the PAP has over Singapore. Going down this route implies the opposition party will never get the respect it deserves in the long run because most of the people’s perception is that suggestion and action are done by PAP, with opposition party becoming irrelevant. It might not be politicized but the effect is the same who perceived it likewise. It looks like it is not opposition party need fixing but the whole government need to be fixed to ensure Singapore stay in due course. Look like the modern ‘Qing’ dynasty is found in Singapore.

    “Damn if he does, damn if he doesn’t” …. It’s Singapore. What to do ? It’s happened.

  9. Bernard Chen said

    This issue of lowering the voting age to 18 is an issue that is close to my heart and I am heartened that it has been picked up by the mainstream media, though credit was not properly acknowledged. YouthQuake will continue to play its part in bringing youth issues to the forefront of national discourse. Any forum/ platform that initiates new ideas for the eventual interests of Singapore and Singaporeans can only be a good and healthy thing.

    My focus is to see the eventual change in the voting age. This incident has once again prove that the PAP do not have the monopoly of ideas; contrary to what they would want us to believe.

    The ideas of ordinary Singaporeans matter and they make sense. The speakers at the forum are no bureaucrats that are well-versed in the dynamics behind policy making. They are just average Singaporeans who want Singapore to be a better place.

    Youths have the ideas, but will the government in power sit up, and listen to them? Besides, youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Denying them the voice is to strip them of their identity as stakeholders in this nation.

    Let the discussion begin. Our representatives in government has the obligation to pursue this issue and see that this agenda initiated by youth in Singapore is being properly addressed.

  10. Bernard Chen said

    This is the response from the Ministry of Law with regard to Andy Ho’s article.

    It is worth noting that the member who raised this issue to former Law Minister, S. Jayakumar during the March 2007 COS debate is Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Ms Sylvia Lim, who is also the Chairman of the Workers’ Party.

    Why voting age in Singapore is 21
    I REFER to Dr Andy Ho’s column on Thursday, ‘If old enough for NS, why not the vote?’

    Dr Ho advocated lowering the age for voting to 18, and urged MPs to raise the issue in Parliament.

    He appears to be unaware that this very issue was raised in Parliament during the Committee of Supply debate last year. Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar, who was also then minister for law, gave a detailed explanation, which was reported in The Straits Times on March 3.

    In Singapore, we do not have a single threshold age of majority for all purposes. Adulthood is attained through a gradual process, with a progressive increase in rights and responsibilities. For example, one may drive at 18; but must be 21 to qualify to be a Member of Parliament, or to make a will, to renounce citizenship or to enter certain professions, such as the law, public accountancy or engineering; and be 25 to adopt a child.

    Voting in elections is a very serious matter. The voting age of 21 means that many voters would have finished national service or even have some working experience. They would then be in a better position to assess the quality of the candidates and to make considered judgments about the national issues at stake in the political debate. It is for these reasons that voting age in Singapore is 21.

    S. Radha (Ms)
    Head, Corporate Communications
    Ministry of Law

  11. too too said

    will letting ‘the 18 yr old get to vote ‘ happen? if it benefits the pap’s than yes if not, brother you wait long long ……. maybe all mp & minister go to zouk and party every wk to mix with youth then possible. imagine they vomit together & get high and sleep in the toilet. that’s cool man…..

  12. Mark said

    Unfortunately the competition may have beaten WP to the crunch, judging from this 2004 New Paper article on the YoungPAP website. Do we have any independent corroboration of the article? Might be worth checking.

    P.S. Please don’t censor this… 🙂

  13. plagiarism said

    And they told us: “It is not file sharing. It is stealing!”

    That was the advertisement in many of the cinemas.

  14. Dingo said

    Oh thats strange, Mark. That YP already brought it up years back!

  15. kingfisher said

    Aiyoh, it’s all so simple, chop logic! Today, the Ministry’s reply in the ST is so clear. Voting is more serious than NS. In NS, you don’t have to make decisions; only need to obey what. In elections, you must make decisions! What if they vote for the Opp?

  16. CelluloidReality said

    Is anyone surprised at the use of adminstrative statements to deal with an issue far more important and pertinent?

  17. NSman said

    I see, NS need not make decision. So when the enemy shouts “Surrender!”, NSman will just have to simply surrender is it?

    And as a 2LT, when my men get killed by the enemy in the battlefield, all I have to do is simply allow myself to get killed also, is it? Or when my men run away, what I have to do is to follow my men to run also? Or wait for my higher up to tell me what to do first before I surrender to the enemy?

    As a platoon commander, I do not need to make decision? They take me as a robot?

  18. Maddog said

    This only happen in silly Singapore.. where in the world can you get a family running a country like their own private business. Also did anyone did a audit check on MM Lee wife and her family business ?

    Let hope that the PAP will lose more seats in the next election.. I am getting sicker every day looking at how our supposely independent newspaper help “brainwash” singaporean on behalf of the government..

  19. […] to Vote – The Online Citizen: Give credit where credit is due, Andy – Empty Vessel: You […]

  20. Maddog,

    So am I. I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired of “our supposely independent newspaper help “brainwash” singaporean on behalf of the government.”

    But what to do? it’s happened!

    So what’s next?

    Let’s move on!


  21. Daniel said

    you can give a nasty bite on Ah Loong’s ass and chase MM around until he died of exhaustion in next election. That will show how mad is the dog !

  22. Voter of the land said

    The ministry of law spokemen said … quote “Voting in elections is a very serious matter…” un-quote

    Then, why keep increasing the size of GRC to make it hard for opposition parties to take part

    How many PAP MP in parliament enter their 2nd and 3rd term un-contested in GE ?

    Do they represent Singtaporean ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: